GETTING TO KNOW: Marc Trestman
Feb. 1, 2005
BY TIM PEELER
RALEIGH - Marc Trestman was recently named NC State's new offensive coordinator, returning to the college game after spending 17 years coaching in the NFL, most recently as the offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins. He's helped the University of Miami win a national championship in 1983, and he's been to the NFL playoffs 15 times, twice advancing to the AFC Championship game and going to the Super Bowl in 2002 with the Oakland Raiders. He was named the 2002 NFL Offensive Coordinator of the Year. Now, he's ready to settle in and install his version of the West Coast offense here. Trestman is still figuring out the logistics of his family's move to the Triangle, but he is excited about starting work with Coach Chuck Amato and his staff on Monday. He recently talked to gopack.com's Tim Peeler about his NFL background and the offensive philosophy he will bring to the Wolfpack.
Birthplace: St. Louis Park, Minn.
Family: Wife, Cindy; daughters, Sarahanne (12) and Chloe (10).
Education: B.S. in Political Science, Minnesota. Juris Doctorate, University of Miami.
Playing experience: Quarterback, University of Minnesota, Moorhead (Minn.) State. Coaching experience: College - University of Miami (1981-84). NFL - Minnesota Vikings (running backs coach 1985-86, quarterbacks coach, 1990-91), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (quarterbacks coach, 1987), Cleveland Browns (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, 1988-89), San Francisco 49ers (offensive coordinator, 1995-96), Detroit Lions (quarterbacks coach, 1997), Arizona Cardinals (offensive coordinator, 1998-2000), Oakland Raiders (offensive coordinator, 2001-03), Miami Dolphins (offensive coordinator, 2004).
GOPACK: This was a quick get-to-know you process about N.C. State. How long did you spend learning about the program? And did you know Coach Chuck Amato before this began?
TRESTMAN: I've lost track of time a little bit, because everything has happened pretty fast. But it has been a couple of weeks, in terms of everything falling into place, in terms of me being introduced into the program and getting to know Chuck and exactly what has transpired over the last four or five years as the program has transitioned. I had not met Coach Amato prior to this.
GOPACK: What impressed you about the program when you started looking into it?
TRESTMAN: No. 1 is that it has developed national recognition over the last five years since Chuck has taken over. There are a lot of the people who are in college football and involved in the media who have a very high regard for what is being done there. There is still more to come.
GOPACK: What is your definition of a West Coast offense?
TRESTMAN: When people think about a West Coast offense, they think about the quick-rhythm passing game, short passes and big plays. To me, the West Coast offense is an entire philosophy of preparation, of teaching, of installing plays and of the way you practice that works all the way into the plays themselves. It is an all-encompassing term used, from my standpoint, as to how an offense is developed, how the players are taught, how it is run on a weekly basis.
GOPACK: Who were your influences in learning the offense and developing your philosophy?
TRESTMAN: It's been a pretty long run of working with a lot of head coaches and a lot of different assistant coaches. I was in the league for seven years before I took three years off (to enter private business). When I came back into the league in 1995, I went to the San Francisco 49ers as the offensive coordinator. They were just coming off going to the Super Bowl. Mike Shanahan had been their offensive coordinator, and he left to be the head coach at Denver. During those years when Bill Walsh, Mike Holmgren and Mike Shanahan were there (at San Francisco), they always made tapes of how they installed the offense. My initial job there was to go watch those tapes and see how the offense was taught and implemented. I watched Walsh, Holmgren and Shanahan all teach it on tape. The development of where I am coming from comes through those three guys. The offense we ran in 1995 was the foundation of what Mike Shanahan did the year before. Then, as you get to know it, and you become more adept at it, you put your own twist to it. That took place as I was the coordinator at Arizona, when we went to the playoffs with Jake Plummer in 1998. And then again when I was with the Raiders, when we went to the Super Bowl in 2002. You kind of just put your own spin on the style of play that each and every other coach had when they were there. I never had a real mentor in learning the West Coast offense. My mentors were people like Bud Grant, who brought me into the NFL, and Howard Schnellenburger, who brought me into college football, and George Siefert, who kind of coached me and guided me when I was in San Francisco as a head football coach, in terms of how to go about getting to know the offense and assimilating it.
GOPACK: Being a football coach can be a nomadic career and you can move around to a lot of different places. But you have a multi-year contract here at NC State. Does than mean you are hoping to settle down here?
TRESTMAN: A big reason, but not the all-encompassing reason, I came here was that I wanted in this point in my to make a decision that is based on my family. There were some key reasons I decided to come here:
No. 1 - Obviously, I wanted to come to a program that I knew would flourish and be a winning environment, that has a chance to be successful year-in and year-out.
No. 2 - After coaching in the NFL for such a long period of time, I felt that this point in my life, when I still have a high level of energy, and commitment to coaching and teaching, to pass that on to younger players in an environment that is very excited about football.
No. 3 - The community of Raleigh is such a great family area. I have two young daughters and I would like to be much more of a part of their lives. I have moved them around quite a bit in their 10 and 12 years. I was looking for a family community where I could raise my kids and still do what I love to do. I have found that with the opportunity that NC State has provided me with.
You never know in college and pro football what the future holds, but you can understand that as a professional coach, I did a lot of moving around. My family is a very important part of what I do and I think it is time to be able to not only give to young kids in terms of the college environment, but also to create an environment for me and my family that can be long-term, if things work out as we hope they will.
GOPACK: After spending 17 years in professional football, how difficult do you expect going back to the college way of doing things?
TRESTMAN: I think the biggest thing is just the time commitment you have to players. The National Football League, during the season, we get them all day. In college, there is only really a 17-hour commitment per week to the players, because three hours is allotted for every game. There isn't the time constraint in pro ball that you have in college. For us, you are dealing with how to implement a system where you don't get the same amount of time. You have to think about how much you can put in and how much the players can absorb when they have to go to class and study and do other things that are involved with being a complete student athlete. From my standpoint, that is going to be the most difficult transition. I have to be very alert to that and use the other coaches and Coach Amato as a sounding board for what we can do. In terms of the day-to-day coaching, I don't plan on coaching these kids any differently than I coached the players in the NFL. We are going to be extremely positive, we are going to be demanding of them, we are going to accept only a high standard of performance. That wouldn't change at any level. I hope to give them a taste of exactly what a professional football player goes through on a day-to-day basis.
GOPACK: What will it be like getting back on the recruiting trail?
TRESTMAN: I think it will different, but I am looking forward to it. It will be fun. It will be new for me, because I haven't done it. Coach Amato and his staff have done a great job in the past in recruiting. I have discovered over the last two weeks the job that they have done in continuing to bring in better and better athletes year-in and year-out. I hope that this will continue as we move along.
GOPACK: What has been your process of getting to know the personnel that you will have when spring practice starts up in about a month?
TRESTMAN: I have a long way to go. I will have about a month before spring practice when I get there on Monday (Feb. 7). They will be involved in the conditioning program and I want to start to get involved in putting some names together with faces over the next few weeks. In pro ball, you have a limited amount of players. In college ball, you have a lot. I want to try to get on a personal basis with as many players as I can in a short amount of time. That won't be easy. As far as the caliber players who are here, I have tried to do a little research on what we have going. I am optimistic, from my conversations with people around college football, that we have a core of players here that can compete with anybody in the ACC. That puts us in a great position this year and down the road.
GOPACK: What can you tell me about yourself and your family and what you like to do when you are away from football?
TRESTMAN: There is not much else I have. When I am not around football, I am around my family. My kids are involved in a lot of different activities and I hope I can get a chance to be a part of them, something I haven't been able to do over the last 10 or 12 years. I am really excited about that. I run and try to work out on a consistent basis, taking care of some individual conditioning and my family. That is pretty much the extent of my days.